Astrid Michael – Head of Sales – Asset Finance – United Trust Bank
Nearly three quarters of the UK is agricultural land with approximately 212,000 farms producing around 54% of the food on our plates. Something else I learned recently is that UTB’s Asset Finance business was originally rooted (excuse the pun) in funding agricultural machinery and the Bank has always had a soft spot for supporting farmers. We recently increased our appetite for funding and refinancing a wide variety of agricultural vehicles and machinery including tractors, trailers, spreaders, dribblers and all sorts of other farm vehicles. We’ve released capital from agricultural assets enabling one farmer to bulk buy fertilizer at a discount and another to purchase a herd of 120 rare breed cows from the Netherlands. Agricultural asset finance is full of surprises!
As you can imagine from one of the economy’s oldest industries, the agricultural sector tends to be served by a very mature asset finance offering including the high street banks and captives. Mature operators can sometimes get a bit set in their ways making them less than flexible and that gives more agile funders like UTB a competitive edge, especially when the deal requires more than an algorithm to say yes or (more likely) no. Our ‘back to basics’ agricultural offering encourages brokers to speak directly to our underwriters who will use their knowledge and experience to do all they can to agree a solution which suits everyone, especially on ‘story’ deals where the P&Ls may not paint a full picture. Also, we don’t have an aged asset policy, so if an asset still has a useful life and value, we don’t mind how old it is at the start or finish of the finance term. And, as a strictly ‘broker only’ asset finance funder, we’re never going to compete with you on future deals.
Last month we gave one of our Agricultural brokers a same day decision for a customer farming 390 acres requiring £85k over 5 years to buy a Dennison trailer. It was approved as proposed and paid out within 24 hours of us receiving the signed paperwork. That broker hadn’t used us in 4 years but saw our ad campaign and gave us a call. Perhaps the next time you’re placing a Claas deal, you should do the same? 😉